Long-term care policies are available from insurance companies. Federal employees can also obtain them through the federal FLTCIP program. LTC (long-term care) policies offer a wide variety of features.

Some policies may pay for care not only in a nursing home but also in an assisted living facility or at the home of the person who requires care.

Policies may also include cost-of-living adjustments, which will increase future benefit payments.

Some companies also offer LTC policies that cover both spouses at a discounted rate, rather than having to purchase two separate policies.

Fed Week’s recent article, “Selecting among Long-Term Care Options to Hold Down Costs,” explains that there also are life insurance policies that double as LTC insurance.  Under this “hybrid” approach, if the policy is needed to cover long-term care expenses, the policy’s death benefit will be reduced.  If the policy is not needed for long-term care expenses, the death benefit will remain intact.

Remember also that the ongoing premiums will often be lower if obtained when the insured is younger, compared with policies bought when a person is older.

When you’re shopping for LTC insurance, there are some tactics that can reduce your policy cost. Here are just a few:

  • Reduce benefits. A policy that pays benefits as long as you need long-term care can be very expensive. However, a policy with a five-year maximum payout will be less expensive. There are not many people who will need more than five years of long-term care.
  • Wait longer. You can reduce costs by extending the period before you collect benefits. A policy with a 90-day waiting period will be less expensive than an LTC policy with a 20-day wait. Of course, this is only a bargain if you can afford to pay for 90 days from your own resources.
  • Avoid automatic inflation increases. A policy that increases your benefit each year from $100 a day to $105 to $110, etc., will be very costly. Instead, you can look for a “future purchase option.” This will let you to buy more coverage if you need it, even if your health has declined.

Reference: Fed Week (June 27, 2019) “Selecting among Long-Term Care Options to Hold Down Costs”